Individual mountains are a genuine attraction to travelers, and typically the more rugged and tall they are the more appealing to the senses. But oftentimes it’s the range the mountain’s in that makes a trekking route standout as a spectacular adventure.
Ranges like the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, for example, where there are hundreds of shimmering white peaks piercing the deep blue sky. The sheer number of peaks is simply overwhelming, and treks through ranges like the Blanca have a special feel to them— like walking inside a long cathedral rather than standing at one altar.
Here are ten of the best mountain ranges where you can trek and enjoy many peaks, standing shoulder to shoulder and layered upon each other, all at once.
Southern Alps, New Zealand
Enjoy stunning vistas day-in and day-out along a hiking trail not featured in any New Zealand guide book. Shh, it'll be our little secret. From remote lakes and valley systems, secluded ridges to splendour panoramas of Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring from high vantage points, the Southern Alps is an exciting blend of adventure and wonder.
From moderately graded to challenging adventures, and even an alpine climbing course, there are plenty of options to explore the dramatic mountain landscape in New Zealand's South. We promise it will take your breath away.
Karakoram Range, Pakistan
An eternal favourite with all our experienced trekkers and climbers for it's vast number of tall, dramatic peaks in a relatively close proximity.
There’s an area in the Karakorum near K2 that has so many huge peaks (we’re talking 6,000-, 7,000- and 8,000-metre peaks) that it’s called the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods. But it's the sheer number of big mountains across Pakistan's entire Karakoram mountain range make it one of the great ranges on earth for trekking.
Everest Region, Nepal
It's the world’s highest peak and one of our most favourite mountains on earth, so we had to add this beauty to the list. Mount Everest, or Chomolungma as it's known on the Tibetan side, entices more people to visit a destination than perhaps any other mountain on earth. There are many trails that take in the famous peak on the Nepalese side, the most famous being the Everest Base Camp trek via Thyangboche monastery, or you could simply drive to the Tibetan side for for uninterrupted views.
View our treks in the Everest region or our High Road to Lhasa, which offer a side trip to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side.
Sierra Nevada, USA
The Sierra Nevada runs for over 640kms north–south in California and is known for its staggering array of granite peaks, domes, and ridges.
One of the greatest long distance treks known to humanity is the John Muir Trail, a 344-kilometre jaunt from the spectacular glacier polished walls of Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States at 4418m. It crosses a number of 4000m passes and wanders beneath high alpine peaks and traverses beautiful meadows and forested river valleys. Due to the remoteness a full-pack is required to undertake the John Muir Trail.
Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa
The north east of South Africa is a region blessed with dramatic mountains and world class game, giving you a unique opportunity to combine both. Even more exciting is when you can experience this highland – home to one of the world's best mountains – on foot. In Kruger National Park, go for a real bush and big game experience or do the strenuous ascent of Amphitheatre.
Other hikes in the Drakensberg mountains include the Grotto, Cavern Big 5, Sugarloaf, and remote Cathedral Peak. If you love hiking, the Drakensberg is a must add on your bucket list.
Turkestan Mountain Range, Kyrgyzstan
Central Asia is hot right now and deep in the heart of the Pamir-Alay mountain system are the towering peaks of Asan (4,230m), Usen (4,378m) and Piramidalnyi (5,509m), set in a backdrop of alpine meadows and picturesque gorges. With its stunning sheer rock formations and the sense of true wilderness, the area is often referred to as Asia's Patagonia - but with much fewer crowds.
Local legend has it that an old man who lived in the mountains had twin sons named Asan and Usen who were raised as warriors and later joined the military. Both were sent to war but neither returned, leaving their father stricken with grief. The father raised his arms to the sky and cried, "Oh Allah, you gave their lives, you then took them away. Return my sons to me and take my life instead." Allah, hearing his prayer, cracked open the ground and towering peaks rose toward the sky. It is believed by locals that the two bastions, standing alongside one another at the beginning of Karavshin River are the twin sons with the snowy white peak of Piramidalnyi in the background is believed to their father watching over his sons for eternity.
You can experience the best of the Turkestan ranges on our Ak-Suu trek which takes you along stunning gorges, through alpine meadows and to the remote and impressive peaks.
Vilcabamba Mountain Range, Peru
The great Vilcabamba Mountain Range is the last stronghold of the Inca Empire. Here is where you can find the unique and spectacular 'lost' ruins of Choquequirao. When you trek over mountain passes, you will have stunning views of the Pumasillo, Humantay, and Salcantay (the ranges’ highest) peaks. Enjoy ancient cloud forest, abundant wildflowers and of course the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. It's offers an extraordinary alternative to the much busier Inca Trail and is one of the most best and most beautiful mountain ranges to hike in.
Patagonian Andes - Argentina & Chile
A climber once described the mountains of Patagonia as something out of a nightmare. Wild spires of granite and ice bursting thousands of metres into the sky.
Indeed, the region’s sharp granite towers are so steep they literally look like knives placed in a mug with their blades pointing up.
Yep, they're that exciting to look at. Experience them in both Argentina and Chile on one of our Patagonia treks.
West MacDonnell Ranges, Australia
They aren't the biggest, but they are one of the world's oldest. Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park stretches for 161 kilometres west of Alice Springs and is home to the famous 223km Larapinta Trail, which begins at the Old Telegraph Station near Alice Springs and ends at Mt Sonder, the NT's third highest peak.
The ancient landscape, sculptured over time by climatic change and made famous by the art of Western Arrernte artist Albert Namatjira is on display in the West MacDonnell Ranges. You can find relics of a bygone tropical forest at many of the cool scenic gorges that act as a refuge for an assortment of plants and animals.
There are many gaps, gorges, rivers, chasms and pits across the West MacDonnell Ranges suitable for hiking, experience them on a Larapinta walk.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
The Atlas Mountains in North Africa stretch across the top of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia and are renowned for their colours—red and orange rocks and lush greenery—as well as their traditional Berber population. This is a big mountain range, and the possibilities for exploration are endless. Join us in exploring these peaks, and its people, in one of our Moroccan adventures.
Feeling inspired? Browse our complete overview of trekking holidays to some of the world's best mountain peaks or get in touch with one of our travel experts around the world for more information and advice.
Which mountain is still on your bucket list to explore?